Some of the oldest and most beautiful wooden churches in the world are located in Maramures.

The craftsmanship of some of them was internationally recognized with their inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

With over 100 churches, the wooden churches in Maramures bear the imprint of skilled craftsmen who pass their talent from generation to generation.

biserici de lemn in maramures

Small and dark on the inside, but with tall and sumptuous steeples, wooden churches appeared during the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Catholicism. At that time, the construction of Orthodox churches made of stone or brick was not allowed.

So, here are some must-see tourist attractions in Maramures.

9 Wooden Churches in Maramures

1. Săpânța Peri Monastery

The current Săpânța Peri Monastery was built in 1997. However, the roots of the monastic settlement date back to 1391, during the reign of Voivode Dragoș Vodă. For over 300 years, the old Peri Monastery was used as the headquarters of the Romanian Episcopate of Maramureș. Some of the most important church books were translated into Romanian here, including the "Psalter" and the "Gospel."

Unlike the old stone construction, the current wooden monastery is much more sumptuous. With a maximum height of 78m and a complex architecture, no less than 12.5kg of gold were used to decorate it.

Today, the Săpânța Peri Monastery keeps the historical tradition alive, being one of the main tourist attractions in Maramureș, visited annually by tens of thousands of tourists.

This is the only wooden monastery in our list that was not included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site due to the fact that its construction was not completed at the time when the others were included.

2. Bârsana Monastery

If you want to see one of the most beautiful wooden churches in Maramureș, you must visit the Bârsana Monastery.

Documented since 1390, the monastic ensemble was revived in 1993 under the guidance of the renowned architect Dorel Cordoș.

The ensemble now includes the wooden church, with a height of 57m, the bell tower, the typical Maramureș gate, the monks' cells, the chapel built on several levels, the master's house, the artist's house, and the museum.

3. The Wooden Church In Ieud

Built by the noble Balea family in the early 17th century, the Wooden Church in Ieud is one of the oldest preserved monastic exhibits in Maramureș. In the attic of the church in Ieud, a document was found in 1921 that sparked a lot of controversy, being considered by some historians the first Romanian writing. It is the Ieud Codex.

Quite austere on the outside, but enlivened on the inside by the sculptures and vividly colored paintings, the Ieud wooden church is one of the main exhibits of the skill of Maramureș craftsmen in wooden construction art. In 1999, the church was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, along with 7 other wooden churches in Maramureș.

4. Budești Josani Wooden Church

Dating back to 1643, the Budești Josani wooden church is one of the magnificent constructions of the 17th century. In the possession of the Romanian Orthodox Church since 1948, the place of worship was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1999, being considered a cultural and architectural masterpiece.

The church houses a collection of old icons inside, most of them from the 17th-18th centuries, with priceless value.

5. Surdești Wooden Church

Built in 1721, from mountain oak, very impressive in size for the places of worship of the time, the Surdești church is still one of the tallest wooden churches in the world today, with a tower height of 72m. At the time of construction, it even occupied the first position in this ranking.

Combining all the elements of structure and decoration, in the most advanced form of the time, the Surdești wooden church achieves architectural perfection. Obviously, this did not go unnoticed by UNESCO, the monument being included in its heritage.

Other Wooden Churches In Maramures, Not To Be Missed

  • Wooden Church of Desești
  • Wooden Church of Poienile Izei
  • Wooden Church of Plopiș
  • Wooden Church of Rogoz


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